tv Focus on Europe PBS November 17, 2014 6:30pm-7:01pm PST
♪ >> hello and welcome to "focus on europe," showing you the personal stories behind the headlines of the people you don't usually hear from. i'm damien mcguinness. i'm really pleased you could join us on the program today. in spain, why its local women who are doing the heavy lifting. while italy, meanwhile, is struggling with the weight of history. and why russian villages are dancing to their own tune under the strength of sanctions, but
first, to a spanish town in north africa. because it is a spanish exclave, it has the unusual status of being a small bit of the european union on the african continent, which means migrants often see it as a way into the eu, but also, traders using it as a way of legally getting european goods out. the problem is that local people are literally -- local people are being used for what is literally back raking work. >> she is having 40 kilos strapped to her back -- it might be food, clothing, or blankets. she is going to lug the cargo across the border from spain to morocco. >> this is how poor people like us earn our money. it is relentless. everyone thinks only of themselves. work is torture. >> there are now hundreds of
mule women crossing the border, which used to be closed. women or men, the rule here is survival of the fittest. the goods do not have to be declared customs because the authorities consider them hand luggage. this is thanks to a deal between the border towns in spanish administered morocco. traders can make a profitable business by not having to pay customs duties. she takes a break. it is an exhausting journey for her and her fellow workers, and all this for only four euros a day. the inhabitants do not need visas to get in, which is why it is easy to cross and recross the border.
we loose sight of her once she has crossed into morocco -- we loose sight of her -- we lose sight of her once she has crossed into morocco. this is where she lives. her husband recently died, plunging her into poverty and social alienation because women on their own are shunned. like her friend, maria, who also carries goods across the border, she has to support her children alone. she says there is no other choice. >> i cannot get another job. this is the only way my small son and i can survive. nobody is looking after us. >> the work at the front tier is their only chance of making a
livelihood. they are heading back to the spanish side, the exclave that has gained notoriety. almost every week, desperate people try to clamber over the high fence that separates africa from europe. yet every morning, there is also traffic and the other direction. at 7:00 a.m., they get to work. up to 8000 people carry heavy loads across the border. the traders who profit most have no qualms. -- look -- we are helping the women. at least we are giving them work. >> the authorities in morocco and spain do not want to comment on why they will not do anything to stop this chaos. we meet jesus from the spanish police union.
he says that the cross-border trade is too lucrative for anyone to do anything about it. >> this work is inhumane. people often carry more than 50 kilos on their back. they are working without a contract, maybe get five euros a day. >> every day, ships and ferries dock at this port. clothing from europe and china, tires, car parts, foodstuffs. the turnover from this trade is more than 500 million euros a year. everything is stock filed in large warehouses until it is picked up. it's the spanish administered's town most -- the spanish administered town toss most economic business, and she has no choice but to continue laboring to get heavy loads
across the highly fortified border. >> i don't see any other future for myself. i'll be doing it for the rest of my life. >> now back your to germany, people desperate to escape fighting in syria or iraq or africa increasingly try to flee to richer northern europe. smuggling people and has become big business for people traffickers. this year alone, more than 5000 people were picked up, and it's thought that many more made it across. to find out more about this tragic trade in human beings, our reporters went on patrol with german border police. >> 5:00 in the morning. the border police begin their working day. it's a good time to carry out controls because human traffickers like to transport their rate -- freight under the
cover of night across the german boarder it on and not be visible to traffic. >> certain kinds of cars are suspect. they usually use older cars with italian license plates, cars that can carry several people at once like minivans. >> the officers lie in wait on a route frequently taken by traffickers. for the refugees, this is the route to hope. for the traffickers, it's a gold mine. >> let's check that dr. vito that drove past us with italian plates. >> rosenheim has registered more than 5000 illegal injuries this year alone, the highest rate since these border controls were set up. this car will also be entered in the statistics.
>> i don't speak english. >> where do you come from? >> from italy. >> your nationality? syria? >> i think so, yes. >> your passport? no passport? please come out. go over there. >> the driver, an egyptian who lives in italy, says he is a taxi entrepreneur. it looks like the bulk of his business is probably smuggling people across the border. >> how much they paid? >> 1200. >> per person? >> all of them. >> the border police catch lots of drivers like mohammad. if he is convicted of smuggling people into germany, he could face a sentence of up to five
years in prison. >> now you must go to our office, yes? and we make a personal check, ok? no problem. you are in germany now. >> for the refugees in the car, this is the end of the last stage of a long odyssey. their desperation generates big money for the trafficking industry. although he has been caught red-handed, the driver does not seem to recognize was serious trouble he is in. >> i take people from denmark to everywhere i go. >> that explanation is unlikely to help the driver, especially considering his passengers' testimony. >> we got the number from a person in the center.
he said his family arrived to sweden with this person. we go with him. >> investigations following the arrest made in bavaria are conducted by the crime-fighting division of the police in munich. powerful, highly professional, internationally organized criminal networks, whose profit margins rival those of criminal smugglers. >> here are the two principal defendants, iraqi citizens. one was in germany. the other lived in iraq. the iraqi traffic or use of collaborators in greece and italy for those segments of the route to germany.
>> the travails of the syrian family's journey are over. after their interrogation, the family are allowed to leave and apply for asylum. things look worse form a hot. taken into investigative custody, he is a small wheel in the big machine of human traffickers operating worldwide. >> the ancient roman city of him pay near naples is one of italy's most popular tourist dustin nations, attracting millions of visitors every year. people are fascinated by the preserved city which for 2000 years was buried under a thick layer of ash after nearby mount vesuvius erupted, but now, there are fears that pompeii's existence could be under threat once more. >> pompeii's recent history is tragic. every winter, ancient rain-soffit wall's collapse. the list of damage to the archaeological site is long, and
vandalism is a huge problem. some people simply chisel away at the ancient walls. in 2012, the european union earmarked 42 million euros to rescue pompeii's ruins. unfortunately, much has gone wrong ever since then. the responsible parties have been fired. this spring, massimo was appointed pompeii's new archaeological director. his mission -- to save the ruins. >> the major construction sites to save pompeii from decay that were planned and announced and for which brussels budgeted money must finally begin. we have a lot to do before the year ends. >> a lot must be done, not only for the murals which have always been exposed to the element's, but also for parts of the ruined city that have not been excavated yet.
measures are planned to secure and rain the soil so it will not press against the ancient walls and push them over the next time there is a big rainstorm. 115 construction sites were planned in the excavation area, but in the last two years, work is going on in just a fraction of the city. critics doubt whether that will change in just a few months. >> they are making the same old mistakes again. they want to start the long overdue renovation work too fast . they want to create the impression that work is going on everywhere here, but the result is a patchwork, and the quality is questionable. >> for years, antonio has been criticizing authorities in pompeii for inaction. they watched as the unique archaeological site fell apart,
and now, they lack a sustainable concept. for months, she and her team have been using watercolors to restore this mural from the first century bc. one of the walls here collapsed in 2011. moisture badly damaged the mosaics in the murals. >> mosaic tiles have popped out because of the moisture, and the floor was completely uneven. we had to restore it all. the ruins have not been taken care of at all. a lot of expense and effort could have been avoided, including permanent damage. >> intentional damage like this could have been prevented with stricter controls and more attentive watchmen. on a busy day, up to 20,000 visitors come to the excavation sites.
pompeii fascinates people, and interest in preserving the ancient city is tremendous. pompeii's head monument protector is aware of the responsibility he has taken on. >> the whole world is watching what goes on in pompeii. it regards it is symptomatic of italy as a whole. >> the italians are under great pressure to fulfill their plans. if the race -- if the restorations continue to be delayed, the european union will simply cancel the millions of euros promised for next year, and then what could save him pay from destruction? >> london is arguably one of the most multicultural cities in europe. in fact, the british approach to immigration in general has traditionally been one of tolerant multiculturalism. the idea being that new arrivals should be free to hang onto their culture, religion, and language, but in the east london
district of tower hamlets, which is the largest proportion of muslims in the country, some say that multiculturalism has led to parallel society, which is operating under its own allegedly corrupt rules. >> the east end of london and its dock hands have long attracted immigrants. in the past, most came from europe. nowadays, the area is very ethnically mixed. it has the highest percentage of muslims in england, well over 30%. the majority are from the bengali community. many castles and tower hamlets are also of bengali origin, including the mayor. the you cap on first muslim mayor to be directly elected is currently at the eye of a political storm. in may, his election to a second term in office was greeted with rousing applause. this restaurant owner was there
as well. he moved to london from bangladesh 15 years ago. he was there to help count ballot papers and says he saw evidence of voting irregularities. >> about 40 people come in the back and said that it is valid. >> footage from that night showed tumultuous scenes in the polling stations, but was there really vote rigging? a candidate for the red flag anticorruption party closely observed what went on on election night. >> well, it was catastrophic. i have never seen any sort of event -- i've been an
international election observer, including south africa. that election had its problem, but nothing on the scale i saw. people were allowed in who were not authorized. people were allowed to intimidate the counters. >> is there any evidence? he rejects the claims. >> there has been no intimidation. there has been no fraud. election is a celebration. >> but electoral fraud is only one of the accusations he faces. the labour party dropped him as their candidate a few years ago after claims that he had links with fundamentalist islamic groups, allegations that he has categorically denied. there is concern that the political system could be infiltrated. the labour party has expelled him and some other members and has reportedly rejected the membership applications of several hundred people believed to have extremist links.
he set up the tower hamlet's first party after his expulsion. 18 members stood for election to the council in may. all were of an golly origin. more than half the counselors -- here, there are complaints of cronyism, inappropriate behavior, and even bullying. council meetings are now being filmed. the men being talked about is peter golds, a conservative town so who is just conservative counselor open about his homosexuality. >> on another occasion, someone referred to me as zionist scum. >> anti-semitism and homophobia -- no one would comment from the
tower's first party. they suspect a smear campaign. an episode of bbc's investigative new show " panorama" was very critical. the program reported that they had access to controversial paperwork that showed he had heavily increased funding recommended for been golly and somali organizations. the allegations have unleashed a storm in tower hamlets. >> if this man was a white man, none of you would have said anything to the panorama. none of you would have said anything. >> some may dismiss the allegations as racist, but one member of the community who has criticized the mayor has had his band defaced and windows in his restaurant vandalized. >> some say that i am out of community, out of culture, but i will stand on my word.
bengali or non-bengali -- it does not matter. >> and he is petitioning for the vote to be overturned. rockmart is due in court to answer charges of voter fraud. >> multiculturalism versus assimilation. it's a difficult issue that many european countries appear to be struggling with. if you have views on that or any other story on today's program, we would love to hear from you, so do get in touch with me on twitter. in russia, meanwhile, as western sanctions start to bite, teed up comedians have come up with their own very humorous way of getting -- keeping russian spirits up. they became a sensation online when they did their own version of the american dance hit "hideaway."
millions of people are fans of the video online, so we decided to meet up with them during the filming of their latest video. >> their shooting a new music video in their village. this time, they decided to cover a schmaltzy russian song. they do not want to impart a message about the deeper meaning of life. >> it's supposed to be fun. we have had lots of fun already. >>'s grandfather also lives in the village. his house is a pop closet, studio, and stage all rolled into one. this is where the duo recorded their summer hit.
♪ >> they transposed the setting from urban new york to the russian provinces. their version went viral on the internet, and they became famous overnight, completely by surprise, though they've got some practice behind them. they have always parodied songs on the radio. ever since they joined a theater group when they were students. >> whenever a hit is played over and over again, the song stays with you, but it does not just go round and round in your head. we had to work really hard on our appearances, our roles, our performances.
>> their next video features even more demanding dance routines. they have a feeling there unique charm will shine through, and they are making a statement about the sanctions dispute between russia and the west. >> we go and see granddad. >> yes. and we take pleasure in village life. get yourself a house here, not abroad. harvest your apples and onions, and you don't have to worry about sanctions at all. >> of course, they know moscow and international politics are a long way away for the
inhabitants here. the villagers here seem more interested in their young stars. michael -- mikhail's granddad is their biggest fan. >> it's really great with a have managed to do. it has turned out well, and everybody is interested in it. >> we are proud of them. and that they are filming here. our village is becoming famous. >> it might become even more famous if the new video also goes viral. >> the russian stars of tomorrow. fabulous. that's all for today. thanks very much for watching. if you use twitter, do join the conversation with me online, as they say. in the meantime, it's goodbye from all of us here at "focus on
steves: since the romantic era in the 19th century, luzern has been a regular stop on the grand tour route of europe. [ whistle blows ] its inviting lakefront now includes a modern concert hall, which incorporates the lake into its design. the old town, with a pair of picture-perfect wooden bridges, straddles the reuss river, where it tumbles out of lake luzern. the bridge was built at an angle in the 14th century to connect the town's medieval fortifications. today, it serves strollers, rather than soldiers, as a peaceful way to connect two sides of town. many are oblivious to the fascinating art just overhead. under the rafters hang about 100 colorful 17th-century paintings showing scenes from luzern and its history. this legendary giant dates to the middle ages,
when locals discovered mammoth bones, which they mistakenly thought were the bones of a human giant. here's luzern in about 1400, the bridge already part of the city fortifications. and luzern looked like this in 1630. luzern is responsible for controlling the lake level. by regulating the flow of water out of its lake, the city prevents the flooding of lakeside villages when the snow melts. in the mid-19th century, the city devised and built this extendable dam. by adding and taking away these wooden slats, they could control the level of the lake. swans are a fixture on the river today. locals say they arrived in the 17th century as a gift from the french king, louis xiv, in appreciation for the protection his swiss guards gave him. switzerland has a long history of providing strong and loyal warriors to foreign powers. the city's famous lion monument recalls the heroism
of more swiss mercenaries. the mighty lion rests his paws on a french shield. tears stream down his cheeks. the broken-off end of a spear is slowly killing the noble beast. the sad lion is a memorial to over 700 swiss mercenaries who were killed, defending marie antoinette and louis xvi during the french revolution. the people of luzern take full advantage of their delightful river with a variety of cafes and restaurants along its banks. this evening, we're enjoying the setting as much as the food. i'm having the local pork. my producer, simon, is having eel, fresh from the river. with a picturesque setting like this, the dining experience makes for a wonderful memory.